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2015 End of Season Discussion

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BrettZ06 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BrettZ06 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: 2015 End of Season Discussion
    Posted: 12-Oct-2015 at 9:57am
I would like to start out by thanking everyone who attended our events this year. I feel that we had a very successful year and had some interesting courses that both challenged and encouraged drivers to hone their driving skills. Many people in our ranks really stepped up to help me with my first year as Solo Chair and I couldn't have done it without them. With that said I know their are some things that can be improved on and the Solo Board would like to here from everyone. If you want to post on here that's fine or you can send me an email directly. my address is BrettBourdette@gmail.com and also be found on our webpage under Solo Board. With that said lets get a few obvious things right out of the way. 1. We will try harder as course designers to avoid bumpy sections of given sites. 2. We will make sure that are courses are no longer than 50 seconds to insure more runs (unless a given lot allows for multiple cars at say 30-35 sec intervals). Please don't feel like your opinions will offend us. We want larger crowds and want to be handle them. I recently went to an event this last weekend that had 100 entrants and we managed to get 6 runs and everyone was completed by 4:30 so its very possible. I would like our region to be able to pull off similar events. Thanks again
Brett Bourdette
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BrettZ06 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Oct-2015 at 10:07am
I would like to have feedback soon as I plan to have Solo Board meeting in early November to discuss the past season. Positive feedback is also welcome.
Brett Bourdette
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BruceC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Oct-2015 at 10:51am
My first thought about how to improve things in 2016 isn't specific to this past season, but addresses an  issue that goes further back.  We need to get the cars launched earlier in the morning.  We spend way too much time getting ready to run.  Just tossing some ideas out - not sure which ideas are appropriate or would work, but some food for thought:

-  Closer attention to the clock and timetable to PUSH things along.  Rather than announcing times for meetings when we're ready, push the meeting to keep up with the set schedule.  Make it an aggressive schedule, with the expectation that the event chair WILL keep to it.  If everything is running soothly and we're ahead of schedule - great!  Now push the schedule up!  Having the PA ready early and setup at EVERY event would give the event chair a better tool for announcing and pushing things.  (Why don't we get a bullhorn?  No setup needed.  Doesn't work for running commentary, but it would be much more convenient keep up a flow of announcements and directions.)

-  Put the novice walk BEFORE the drivers meeting - say at 9:00 SHARP.  Why let the novices (and the rest of us who need help) walk around blindly?  By 9:00 everyone is registered (Ok, maybe make it 9:05 to get the stragglers through registration.  Perhaps we always have 3 registration works, or we do more with on-line pre-registration to reduce the bottle-neck at the registration table).  So do the novice walk while the computer is being set-up and the worker chief is working out assignments.  Then as soon as the drivers meeting is done, give everyone 10 minutes, then line-up.  If you need more time after the meeting, you just get to the end of the line - that gives you at least 10-15 minutes extra to adjust pressures (tire or bladder) or do whatever else is needed.  

-  Driver's meeting... UGH!  I know we have things we HAVE to cover every time, because we have new people all the time.  But lets make use of the website.  "We have an annual championship - read about it on the website or talk to someone here".  Done.    Not sure what else we could reference like that, but a minute here, a minute there, and pretty soon it adds up to real time. Instead of TALKING about "down or out", have a display at registration and just point to it during the meeting.  Find shortcuts.  That has the added benefit of people paying more attention to the really important stuff.  That leads to the next point... 

-  We should suggest that new people read the on-line resources we have.  I notice that the link to the  Kate Hughes novice handbook is dead.  Lets get that revised and back on-line.  I spoke to Kate at an ice racing event last year or the year before, and she was all in favor of someone updating her work.  I'd love to do that - and if you all poke me enough times about it maybe I'd be able to get it done before the start of 2016!  The more we empower and educate our participants, the more smoothly things will run, the more fun they'll have, and the more often they'll come back.  And the more smoothly things run, the less lost time we'll have.  People expect to find everything they want to know on-line - lets make it easy for them to find it.

- If we push the schedule, and put the novice walk right at the close of registration, would that create a problem for tech?  I'd like to hear from our tech guys about what would help them get things done more quickly and efficiently.  Drive-through tech? There's no reason you couldn't drive through tech and then go register if the line is long at that moment.

Thoughts and comments?
Bruce


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BrettZ06 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Oct-2015 at 11:09am
Bruce
I agree with everything you have mentioned. As for registration I think the biggest problem there is 75% of the entrants show up in the last 20 minutes. Maybe we could start taking money online then people would just have to check in. Anyway everything you mentioned is worth trying to improve on.

Thanks for the feedback
Brett Bourdette
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ack154 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Oct-2015 at 11:31am
I'll try to touch on a few things (including adding some stuff to Bruce's points). I really think it comes down to a few key things.

Event Chairs. Event chairs need to be on the ball in the morning. They are ultimately responsible for the timing and smooth operation of the event. Should have started the Drivers Meeting already? Where's the event chair? Is Tech happening? The Event Chair should know We like to joke that the EC job isn't nearly as demanding as it once may have been - but there are still plenty of things to fall on those shoulders on the day of the event.

Course Design. I'm not sure we need a 50 second rule like Brett is kind of suggesting. But more attention needs to be paid to overall course length and timing but also getting 2 cars on course. We can run a 60+ second course with no problem but that 2nd car needs to get on course ASAP to keep things flowing. That was one of the biggest downfalls of the last 2 events. And while some could argue we could probably have put another car on course sooner - there are also a few arguments to not do it in those two cases. If some of you remember back a few years we almost always had 2 or even 3 cars on course at Seneca. We HAD to and it was designed so that we could. Different space, sure, but it can be done.

Drivers Meeting. I'm partially vested in this because I helped create them - but honestly if people would use, and stick to, the laminated scripts, this would go a bit easier. Content is specifically broken up into each role that it goes with but we still get a lot of duplication in who covers what. Pretend it's a crappy call center - stick to the script! I'm sure we can shorten some of these even more than they have been (definitely up for review!) but still, they need to be followed to work. The only problem I have with shortening them too much is no matter how many online resources we (or anyone) put out there, people don't and won't read them. Our regulars might - but the people that we really need to read them (new people!) probably aren't going to know about them ahead of time. So we still need to cover a lot of the things we'd like to avoid.

Novice Walk. I do kind of like the idea of moving up the Novice Walk to some time before the meeting. But like Bruce mentions, that could have an affect on Tech (though this is another thing that the EC needs to be on top of - make sure you Tech people are there on time and starting as soon as they can!). I don't see much reason why we couldn't do a Novice Walk from maybe 9:15 to 9:30 and jump right into the Drivers Meeting at 9:30. I do still feel we should have a short 5 minutes to walk the course after the Drivers Meeting - but that's also the same time for bathroom breaks and lining up and all of that anyway.

Registration. The biggest thing I'll say with this is that Reg people need to be on time, set up, and ready to get people going by 8am. This usually isn't happening. And yes, I harass my wife about this at pretty much every event. Our reg workers also need to give some direction and keep things moving here... "pay this person, then sign the waiver and take a wristband, then go to the last person and check your info in the computer." I don't think anything more with online registration is going to help. As soon as people are in the system once, they're in the system. So online reg isn't going to help our regulars get through the line any faster. They still have to do the waiver, pay, wristband, and at least confirm reg details in the computer. We can try to get the online reg link out to more people but many just don't use it. They know they can still just show up and run - even if it takes them another 3 mintues at registration. We also do have the option of the online weekend membership form - but we probably did a poor job of making that available (and there is likely still some back end setup with National that we need to clear up with it). If we can figure out how to actually implement this at the event, it might help with the form/waiver writing part.

I honestly could go on and on about some of this stuff... but I don't want to waste any more time here at the moment.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BrettZ06 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Oct-2015 at 1:05pm
With the weekend memberships topic we had over 90 weekend memberships forms filled out this year. That's a lot of filling out forms in line.
Brett Bourdette
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ack154 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Oct-2015 at 1:17pm
Originally posted by BrettZ06 BrettZ06 wrote:

With the weekend memberships topic we had over 90 weekend memberships forms filled out this year. That's a lot of filling out forms in line.


Definitely is. And the online version is such a great idea too. They could fill it out the day before... or even in line while they're waiting! You pay the weekend membership fee through the web and then just pay ONE set entry fee for members and non-members at the table.

Because really, there's the cost of an entry to the event (the "member" price) and then there's the cost of a weekend membership. Those two things are added together to get the "non member" price.

It's just a question of implementation... but we'd just have to talk about that and figure out the best way.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jscaptura1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Oct-2015 at 9:14pm
Ok, Time to add my .02 (Not that anyone really cares) I think we are really missing the point here. All of those suggestions about Registration, Tech, Novice Walk etc. will take some time off, but how much really? A half hour total? We need to be looking at a few other larger difficulties: #1: Lack of quality venues, #2: Timing system.
#3: Amount of time carts take in their run group.

Lets address #1 first (How appropriate) I personally dislike the main paddock at WGI. I know its the largest lot we have but it is a NIGHTMARE to set up a course on. The bumps, ridges and grates make it almost impossible to make a good, long course on. I know the one we used for the test & tune was short (about 35-40 seconds)bur it was relatively free of bumps and very fast. We are having difficulties making a course longer because our lots are too small. To make a longer course, we have to add a loop where we repeat a section of the course. This severely limits the ability to let a 2nd car enter the course while one is already on course. Solution? No 2nd lap or repeating of a section. Problem? Very short course but we would be able to get 2 cars on at the same time. With the lots we have, we cant have both, its just not possible. Which brings me to point # 2:

Timing System: I believe we should be able to purchase an affordable wireless timing system for use over the winter. Each time I try to design a course, I do so with the fact in mind that I have to keep the start and finish near each other so that we can string the timing wires easily from the van to the start & finish. I am thinking that if we have a wireless system, that will open up the possibilities of making a more user friendly course where we can start & finish on opposite sides of a lot and make the possibilities of having more than 1 vehicle on course at a time a little more feasible. I am pretty sure we hade a pretty good year financially in our solo season. Would it really be that hard for us to invest in a wireless system?

And on to point #3: You knew it was coming: Carts: To me personally, It feels like the 6-8 carts take more time in their run group than the 13-15 cars that run before them. I have absolutely NO data to back up this claim. It just feels that way to me. I think I will try to time the sessions at the beginning of the season next year to see if this is actually true or not. For all the cart drivers, please don't tell me I'm blowing smoke or I have no Idea what I'm talking about. To me it feels like we waste a lot of time waiting for carts at the end of their run group. I think we need a solution to pare down the time these carts take to run. Please don't misunderstand me, I like seeing and watching the carts at our events, I just don't think we are running them efficiently enough. What is the solution? I don't know. I am hoping to attend the conference in November so that I can possibly gain some insight into what other regions do to alleviate these problems.
I encourage any and all of our members to join this discussion.

Joe Scaptura
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MikeSmith Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Oct-2015 at 1:23pm
To the Driver's meeting issue - perhaps have a designated person to run the driver's meeting? If they know the routine, they can run through it a lot faster. Maybe a backup person in case the primary isn't there?

As Joe pointed out - this is a small thing, though every little bit helps.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote PollardCA Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Oct-2015 at 2:32pm
Angry

Edited by PollardCA - 22-Oct-2015 at 5:09pm
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